Industry Research

Infinitely Positive Dial?

Arbitron and Edison Research just released the 2012 edition of The Infinite Dial study. This marks the 14th year and 20th report in the series that "provide estimates of emerging digital platforms and their impact on media landscape."

Not surprisingly, this year the report focused energy on the precipitous increase in usage of mobile technology and social media. However, I was a bit surprised, to hear the contention that digital platforms are not eroding radio listening. Over 90% of persons age 12 or older do listen to radio on a weekly basis, but the amount of time spent listening to radio has been diminishing over time.

Arbitron's Bedroom Project, research from 2007 conducted by Jacobs Media, highlighted the absence of radios in younger potential listeners' homes. This ethnography was an early view into changing media patterns. A review of Arbitron's own data shows that time spent listening to radio has largely been on the decline since the mid 1980's. Competition time and attention has only increased since the advent of mobile devices. A recent emarketer graph reinforces this point:

In the end, every piece of content must present value to the listener to keep him or her tuned in.

Lori Kaplan is the Director of Audience Insight & Research.

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